Trend Watch

Hobson's Choice

Hillary Clinton in a bind over e-mails ...


Lookups spiked on August 13, 2015.


An op-ed at posited that Hillary Clinton's e-mail server would have been forcibly seized by the FBI had she not agreed to hand it over because of concerns that it may have been used to send or receive classified information. The article concluded by saying that, in effect, Mrs. Clinton had no choice but to turn over her server: "By her own actions, Clinton dealt herself a Hobson's choice."

Hobson's choice means "a situation in which you are supposed to make a choice but do not have a real choice because there is only one thing you can have or do." It comes from the name of Thomas Hobson, who rented horses in Cambridge, England in the early 1700s. He made sure that his customers felt fairly treated by insisting that each take the horse nearest the stable door in turn.

As clarified at "This is not an investigation into Clinton herself but rather the security of her emails."

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!